Lykke Li w/ Mapei – Concert Review

Lykke Li w/ Mapei
Crystal Ballroom

IMG_0278I’ve been hyping this show for quite some time now. Swedish songstress Lykke Li’s latest album, and darkest in many’s opinion, hits the top of my list for this year’s best albums. So, obviously, when she announced this Crystal Ballroom show, I pounced on tickets.

The day finally came, and Portland was treated to a beautiful set, coming right out of the dark dreams and magic of I Never Learn, with pieces from Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes in the mix.

The night opened with fellow Swede and hip-hop-indie-soul artist Mapei. Mapei’s song “Don’t Wait” has been on repeat for quite some time for me, so I was excited to see how her soulful pop would translate live. I was not disappointed. Live, Mapei’s voice is really highlighted, and you can hear how strong her vocals really are.

Along with hits “Don’t Wait” and her latest single, “Change”, Mapei performed some more material, sure to be included on her debut album, dropping this Tuesday. Read more about Mapei on our sister blog, Rad Foxes.

Now that the audience was livened up with Mapei’s hip-hop soul vibe, it was time to transition into the dreamy silk of Lykke Li.

Lykke’s voice live, or anywhere for that matter, is so smooth. This combined with the incredible lights made for one beauty of a set in the Crystal.

Opening with the title track off her new record, “I Never Learn”, the audience was mesmerized by Lykke’s vocals and movement on stage. She first donned a sparkling black blazer, which then switched out to a ghostly black tulle cape.

Her presence on stage is absolutely capturing. She strides across the stage, falling in and out of the light, which would hit behind her at just the right moment to create a beautifully haunting silhouette.

Though many of the tracks coming off of I Never Learn had a slow, haunting melody about them, Lykke pulled out tracks off of her previous two albums as well to blend some lighter tones into the meld.

“Dance, Dance, Dance” was a highlight of the set. The energy popped for this song, and Lykke’s audience participation skills shined through when she came down into the crowd for the first verse of the song.

And of course, Wounded Rhymes track and fan favorite, “I Follow Rivers”, brought the energy up to a top level as well, while people sung along to pretty much every word.

Overall, Lykke’s set was a strong one. The stage lighting was beautiful, her voice and presence mesmerizing, and the dark dream that was put unto the Crystal Ballroom was one that is not easily forgotten.


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